Managing Mondays: An Established Routine

Managing Mondays: An Established Routine

Spontaneity is a wonderful thing. I consider myself a pretty spontaneous person. I like surprises and flexibility is one of the most essential parts of being a parent. That being said, I think kids and families need routine as well. I have found that within my family routine saves time, arguments and energy. The Johnson’s routines have changed over the years as the kids have grown and changed as well. The three essential routines that have remained for our family are; bedtime, chores, and family dinner.

An established pattern for bedtime has made evenings a pleasure and not a battle. When they were young it would include a five-minute warning, at least two books, sharing what we were thankful for that day and a song. Lights out. I am not saying this worked perfectly but the expectations were clear and the routine allowed them to find comfort in the consistency. As they have gotten older it has changed to a more self managed bed time, still a set time, but having a half hour to read in bed then lights out. Even though they are now in high school, an established bedtime and consistent follow through by Scott and I have made this nightly task a pleasure not a battle.

My kids have been doing chores since they were two-year olds. Making their bed every morning, cleaning up after playing with something, bringing their dishes to the sink after a meal. We have clearly communicated that we are a family, we have been blessed with a home and we all need to take care of it. The chores have increased as their ages have through the years. The routine has been to chart the chore, establish the standard, and make sure they know the time frame they must be done by. The consequences for not following through are clear and quickly administrated. It is work on the parents end for sure but the value and worth ethic you instill in your children is priceless.

In a time of sports, weird work schedules, homework, and competition with electronics family dinners have become more and more scarce. This is not healthy for anyone. When the kids were younger dinner was much easier to plan to be together. As the commitments and distractions have increased the routine of having dinner together is hard to maintain. I get that, but the benefits of our time together over the dinner table far out weighs the struggle to make it happen. We have had dinner very early, we have had a family dessert when we could not manage to be together for a whole meal. When the kids were in grade school we had a five night a week routine, in middle school it dwindled to three and it has stayed at three for a minimum. Sunday nights are non negotiable and the kids know without asking that this is sacred time, and not to bother with excuses.

Every routine has its glitches and again flexibility is the key. Changes as your kids grow and your families need differ are to be expected. For me, routine has been a lifesaver for our family sanity. It has established good habits and given us all a comfort in the knowledge that when everything else goes haywire in our lives there are things we can count on. Sleep, chores and food!


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